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$600 Mill. Hyundai Looks at 4 Shops

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LOS ANGELES Hyundai Motor America has selected at least four agencies to participate in the review for its $600 million creative and media business, according to sources.

Participating are: Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco; independents Siltanen & Partners, Marina del Rey, Calif., and StrawberryFrog in New York; and MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners in New York, per sources.

Agency executives either declined comment or could not be reached.

A Hyundai representative said the field of finalists would include five shops, but declined to disclose which agencies are involved.

Client COO Steve Wilhite and vp, marketing Joel Ewanick have begun meeting with shops. Several other agencies initially invited to pitch have passed on the opportunity because they are conflicted in other ongoing automotive reviews, which include contests for DaimlerChrysler's Jeep and Ford Premier Auto Group's Volvo, sources said.

Goodby withdrew from a partnership with 180 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in the Volvo review in order to pursue Hyundai, according to sources.

Another Volvo participant, Havas' Arnold, Boston (pitching with Nitro in London), has long-standing ties to Wilhite through the shop's many years on Volkswagen during Wilhite's tenure at the German car company.

Arnold declined comment on either Volvo or Hyundai.

Siltanen & Partners had already been assigned a campaign for the Hyundai brand before the client parted with independent incumbent The Richards Group in Dallas last month.

This story corrects an item posted earlier today, noting that StrawberryFrog is an independent shop.